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West Side Real Estate News & Notes

2/28/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Land Conservancy praises introduction of bill to fund home demolition

 

NORTHEAST OHIO — Western Reserve Land Conservancy, which launched its Thriving Communities Institute program to address the foreclosure crisis, is applauding a bill introduced by area congressional representatives to establish a bond program to fund demolition of vacant, abandoned and tax-foreclosed homes.

Land Conservancy President and CEO Rich Cochran and Thriving Communities Institute Director Jim Rokakis praised U.S. Reps. David Joyce (R-District 14), Marcy Kaptur (D-District 9) and Marcia Fudge (D-District 11) for introducing the Restore Our Neighborhoods Act, which would authorize up to $4 billion in new bond allocation for states to help fund demolition.

The bill would authorize the sale of tax credit bonds — essentially interest-free loans — to states, which would have the discretion to issue the bonds or allow land banks to issue them. Proceeds from the sale of the bonds would fund demolition of vacant and abandoned homes.

“We are grateful to our representatives for working together in this bipartisan effort to help revitalize the neighborhoods of our region and our nation,” Cochran said. “We applaud their spirit of cooperation. This bill will help our communities demolish the worst of these abandoned homes and create greener, healthier neighborhoods for residents.”

“We know that vacant properties attract crime, lower surrounding property values and cost our cities millions in service costs and unrealized tax revenues,” Rokakis said. “This threatens the safety and the stability of some of our most beautiful and historic neighborhoods.”

Rokakis said there are more than 100,000 homes in Ohio in need of demolition, and that the presence of abandoned houses in a neighborhood makes neighbors more likely to abandon their own homes, creating a downward spiral of foreclosure.

 

Stephanie Kist contributed to this report.

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